CAMDEN—Chef Josh Hixon, owner of 40 Paper, in Camden, and Chuong Thien Nguyen, both volunteers of the Camden Snow Bowl’s Ski Patrol and Mountain Steward program, have a friendly rivalry going on: who can cook the better dish?
After a mock battle involving dueling homemade dishes one day after skiing, Hixon and Nguyen decided to make it official and host a Culinary Throwdown on Sunday, March 28, in the lodge of the Camden Snow Bowl with donations toward the meal benefiting the Ski Patrol projects.
Pork was the common ingredient for each dish and each cook took that protein in a different direction. Nguyen made a Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chop with Roi Choi Korean Kimchi Fried Rice, substituting Heiwa Tofu for vegetarians. Hixon, using a smaller version of flatbread that 40 Paper serves, decided to go with a Calabrian pork grilled flatbread.
“The lemongrass pork chop is my family recipe,” said Nguyen, who alternated between searing the pork on the grill on the outside deck and coming back inside to season his wok with a variety of flavors for the fried rice. “This is something I’ve done a long time; I love cooking.”
On the opposite side of the lodge, Hixon had already prepared his chafer with carmelized pulled pork and grilled flatbreads.
“There are two regions in Italy, the Emilia region and the Calabrian region, that do these kinds of flatbread with meats and vegetables,” explained Hixon. “So, this is a play on that with pork I got locally from Deer Foot Farm, which was braised for a number of hours. The vegetables were radicchio and arugula, all Italian ingredients, with local feta on top. And then I had a spicy, rich paste made from ground Proscuitto and salami, chilis, and butter. The sauce on top was the braising liquid reduced.”
Judges for the event were the Snow Bowl’s General Manager, Beth Ward, Senator Dave Miramant, Rep. Amy Roeder, and Ski Patrol volunteer R.J. Polky.
As everyone enjoyed the Italian and the Vietnamese dishes, it was hard to proclaim a winner: so it was decided. It was a two-way tie.
“We’re all winners here,” said Nguyen.
“We’re working on finishing the Patrol Summit deck at the top of the mountain, so that we can offer more public events when COVID loosens things up, have a grill up there, and have some live music,” said Terrain Park Manager Steve Pixley.
Though the Snow Bowl made the decision to close early for the season, there is still a GoFundMe fundraiser to help them continue to make operational improvements and finish the Patrol Summit Deck.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org